The Monday after the Super Bowl has officially been giving its own hashtag, "SuperSickMonday."
Many feel that the day after the Super Bowl deserves its own holiday, anyway. I get it. It's tough to stay up that late and then go to work the next day. However, you'll want to think twice before calling in sick -- it could cost you your job.
According to CareerBuilder data, 38 percent of employers surveyed admitted to checking up on an employee who called in sick to make sure he or she was actually under the weather. If caught, 26 percent of employers have actually fired an employee for calling in with a fake excuse. Word to the wise, if you're "sick," stay off of social media for the day.
As an HR professional, and an avid football fan, I'm torn. On one side, I'm part of the group that thinks the Super Bowl is worthy of a national holiday, and on the other, I'm annoyed by the thought of a considerable drop in workforce productivity.
To strike a balance, I have a couple of thoughts that might help employers and employees plan for situations like "Super-Bowl-itis."
1. Change Sick Days to Paid Time Off (PTO)
The frustrating part for most managers and organizations is not that their employee is taking the day off, but that they're dishonest about the reason why. Traditional sick days are a non-required benefit for most states that are there to ensure employees have company supported time to focus on their health.
Also, to ensure that they minimize exposure, most companies provide paid sick days to encourage you to stay home. So, you can see why being misleading and exercising this perk dishonestly can upset your employer -- you're taking advantage of the system.
However, lumping sick days together with vacation days, otherwise known as PTO, changes the connotation. It puts the onus on the employee to plan accordingly and to use their amount of paid time off wisely. It's the same amount of days that they would typically have, but when using them cuts into possible vacation days, they use their better judgment before playing hooky.
2. Consider flexible work arrangements and always communicate.
Some organizations can provide flexibility, and some managers have the discretion for people to come in later than usual. This depends on the realities of the business. In my experience, treat employees like grown-ups, and they'll usually surprise you. If not, then you may have a harder decision to make.
If you're worried about employees playing hooky, making some accommodations and being flexible could ensure the day isn't completely lost due to employees burning an entire sick day when they only need a few extra hours of sleep.
As an employee, it's important to have your priorities straight. If the Super Bowl is important to you and you know you are in for a late night, plan accordingly and communicate with your manager. Worst case scenario, you can use some of your PTO without dishonestly using sick days.
If your company provides sick days, then employees reserve the right to use them. However, if you can foster trust and mutual respect through flexible policies, employees will, in turn, utilize them more responsibly.